Youths in Germany turning to jihad
From Wuppertal to Waziristan: Ever more young men living in Germany are traveling to conflict zones to become jihadi fighters. Though numbers remain small, security services are taking the problem very seriously.
Based on the recollection of Friedrich Bleckmann, the two "lads," as he called them, were as different as only brothers can be. Bünyamin E. was described as "polite, studious and humble," his older brother "highly aggressive and unreliable." Their father worked at Bleckmann Farm, close to the small western German city of Velbert. His sons helped out there on weekends and during school vacations.
The farmer could never have envisaged the path the two Turkish-German Wuppertal brothers took. In 2012, both brothers went to join Islamist fighters in the mountainous Pakistani region of Waziristan on the Afghani border. Bünyamin was killed by a U.S. drone attack shortly after his arrival. Emrah continued to fight until June 2012.
Fear of attack
Cases of young Muslim men living in Germany becoming jihadi combatants are rare, but increasing in number. German security services believe that since the beginning of the 1990s, around 235 "people with German connections and Islamic terrorist backgrounds" have at least attempted to obtain paramilitary training. There is concrete evidence that around 100 were actually trained or engaged in military operations. More than half of those are said to be back in Germany, and around 10 have been imprisoned.
Secret services and agents are taking the matter very seriously. "Should they return [to Germany], these people could be involved in activity which poses a threat to national security," said a spokesperson for the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution. Members of the so-called Sauerland Group attended a training camp in Pakistan before they were arrested during preparations for attacking U.S. facilities in Germany. (...)